At work one day I was offered a strip of raffle tickets for a quid, handing over my last quid as it was for charity I placed the strip of tickets in my work diary and forgot about it. A few days later I was informed that I had won a “HD Screen thingy”. It was actually an Amazon Fire HD6, I had looked at them previously but bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 instead so this would be an interesting comparison.

I charged the Fire HD when I got home and entered my Amazon details as I already have Prime available. The first thing to strike me was the clarity of the screen, it just seems miles ahead of the Tab 3. The second thing to hit me was the lack of Google apps on the Amazon store, so I can’t easily sync my photos, files etc. Like I can with my Android phone, Tab3 and my PC. I also miss a quick Youtube fix as the apps available aren’t apps, just links to Youtube. On finding this lack of Google integration (which extends to the browser, no Chrome so no bookmark sharing and to be honest the Amazon Silk browser is a little lacklustre too) I was about to go and hand back the Kindle Fire and demand my pound back.

I resisted the temptation and used the Kindle Fire HD as an Amazon shopping browser and found then that it is actually quite fast, so I tried some other things. That’s when I discovered sideloading apps from the Tab3 was possible and added a few old console emulators to test the speed. Against the Samsung tablet as a direct comparison it ran a Dreamcast emulator much more smoothly, but again it was limited as I couldn’t use the Bluetooth controller with it and using a touch screen control on a fast moving game sucks for me.

I took the Kindle Fire HD6 on holiday with me to do some reading while away, something it should be great at. Luckily I downloaded some books before leaving as there was no wifi available where we stayed. Reading a PDF was ok but did involve some screen moving as I read due to the books format. Kindle books from Amazon are a little easier but I am not a fan of reading on electronic screens anyway, although the Fire screen is better than most I have tried Amazon Kindle apps on.

While away I used the camera on the Amazon Fire which does give adequate results, but as previously mentioned it doesn’t back up automatically to my preferred Google Photos storage. Amazon do offer a backup service you can use so I let it back my pics up to there when wifi was available, and copied them to my Google account later. I also used the Amazon Prime account along with the Fire HD to watch some old tv programs (Trapdoor for anyone interested), and it works great with the good quality of the Fire screen.

Overall, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD6 is a mixed bag for me, a very nice screen, fast and responsive tablet but ultimately hamstrung due to Amazon not allowing Google apps like Photos, YouTube and Google plus to be natively used on it forcing you to use their services and then copy across. If you’re not tied to Google like me then you may enjoy it much more as it is a very nice tablet.